26. Tetrarchs at War


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ConstantiusFirst GaleriusCoin SeverusIICoin Maxentius ValeriusRomulusCoin LDomAlexanderCoin MaximinusDaia Licinius MAPStruggle

The Western Caesar, Constantius I Chlorus ("the Pale"), father of Constantine the Great, was much loved but died a year into his reign (bust and coin).

Galerius (coin left) and his second wife Galeria Valeria 

(coin left below), daughter of Diocletian; he was to have a fraught political relationship with the rising Constantine.

Severus II—an unloved and unlucky emperor.


Maxentius (bust left and coin below), son of Maximian, and his own son (coin below), Valerius Romulus. In effect a usurper, Maxentius held on to power from his base in Rome with the help of his father, in spite of the elderly Diocletian's disapproval.


Right: from his monumental palace on the Dalmatian coast at Salonae, the aging Diocletian watched the fruits of his labor dissolve into civil war among the Tetrarchs. At the conference held at Carnuntum he demoted young Constantine to "Son of the Augsti" (coin below).

Lucius Domitius Alexander, vicar of Africa, was proclaimed Augustus by his troops in late 308 in opposition to Maximian and Maxentius.

ChiRoCoin ConstantineCoin Helena

Helena (bust left) mother of Constantine, a professed Christian, had much influence over her son’s views on religion. His profession of the new faith was expressed in the Christian symbol, the Chi-Rho (coin above). After the destruction of Maxentius, and the death of

      Maximinus Daia, the proto-

            Christian Constantine 

                   (coin left) and

                      Licinius were the

                         last "Tetrarchs"

                            left standing.


Maximinus Daia (bust and coin above), Augustus of the territories of Egypt and north to eastern Cappadocia when Constantine ousted Maxentius in 312, aimed to increase his dominions, which brought him into conflict with Licinius (right), with his wife Constantia, Constantine's half-sister), who was Augustus of the Balkans and much of Asia Minor. Their struggle for ultimate power left Maximinus dead and Licinius facing Constantine.


Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England